When the Texas Stars take their home ice in Cedar Park on Friday night, they'll open the Calder Cup Playoffs against the hated Rockford Ice Hogs with Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn in the lineup.
Benn was sent down to Austin yesterday after completing his surprising rookie year in the NHL. Many, myself included, expected Benn to spend most, if not all of this season with the AHL club, but he had such a great camp they couldn't part with the young man. He played all 82 games with the Stars, scoring 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points.
Jamie is not getting much (if any) consideration for Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. Matt Duchene, Jimmy Howard and Tyler Myers are considered stronger candidates, but Benn with 22 goals was only 2 behind Tavares and Duchene. He (by far) outscored all rookies at even strength with 20 goals.
Joe Nieuwendyk was asked about Benn yesterday: "...the emergence of Jamie Benn, I think, is the No. 1 thing for me. We kind of had him penciled in to be in Austin for however long, but he stepped in right away and had a terrific season. It's going to be challenging for him next year again going forward, but he obviously has the attributes that are going to make him a very good player in this league."
*Defending Big D will have Texas Stars updates after each playoff game from our AHL correspondent Stephen Meserve of Hundred Degree Hockey, so check back often for Jamie Benn news.
The official release from the team is after the jump...
Frisco, Tex. – The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has assigned center Jamie Benn to the Texas Stars, Dallas’ primary minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the beginning of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Benn, 20, recently completed his rookie campaign in the National Hockey League, collecting 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points. He was one of only four rookies in the league to compete in all 82 games this season. Benn ranked third overall among first-year players in goals, fifth in points and tied for ninth in assists, while leading all NHL rookies in takeaways (70) and hits (186). The 6-2, 207-pound Victoria, B.C. native, became just the 10th rookie in franchise history to hit the 20-goal mark and just the fifth Dallas rookie to do so. Benn was Dallas’ 5th round selection (129th overall) in the 2007 Entry Draft.
The Texas Stars begin the Calder Cup playoffs this Friday, hosting the Rockford Ice Hogs in the West Division Semifinals.